Gov. Rick Scott to make final State of the State speech
Florida Gov. Rick Scott is giving his last State of the State speech Tuesday and there’s a good chance a couple of topics will be similar to the first one he gave in 2011: jobs and tax cuts.
Scott won office on the slogan “Let’s get to work” and continued to build on that theme after taking office.
One theme will be far different this year. In 2011 Scott proposed $5 billion in budget cuts and the elimination of 8,645 state jobs. This year he’s proposing widespread spending increases and adding state jobs.
The Republican governor leaves office next January due to term limits. His Tuesday speech will be much more positive than his first as he considers a run for U.S. Senate. He’ll likely highlight his accomplishments over the past seven years as well his goals for his last legislative session.
The following is a look back at highlights of Scott’s previous seven State of the State speeches and how his goals faired after the legislative session:
The themes: jobs, jobs, jobs. He mentioned the word 20 times in the speech. He also called for $2 billion in tax cuts for corporations and consumers and cuts to state government.
Key quote: “For years, politicians have not dared to face the full extent of our financial problems. Politics prevailed, even when the numbers did not add up. All the cans that have been kicked down the road are now piled up in front of us. Floridians have been encouraged to believe that government could take care of us. But government always takes more than it gives back.”
The results: Scott proposed $458 billion in corporate income tax cuts. The Legislature approved $30 million. The Legislature cut 4,500 state positions, or a little more than half of what Scott wanted.
The themes: After a contentious first year with the Republican-led Legislature, Scott called for cooperation. And more corporate tax cuts, a $1 billion increase in school funding and auto insurance reform.
Key quote: “None of us can do this alone. So, let’s get to work – together!”
The results: Scott pretty much got everything he wanted.
The themes: Jobs, again. In a new take on his “Let’s get to work” slogan, he said, “It’s working” seven times in his speech. He pushed for more job growth. But in a twist, he called for expanding Medicaid under then-President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul – something he fought for years.
Key quote: “Not having a job is devastating to a family. I remember when my parents couldn’t find work. I remember when my dad had his car repossessed. The most important thing to a family is having a job. Everything we have done together over the last two years has been geared toward job creation and, I want to stress again, it’s working.”
The results: The Legislature didn’t budge on the idea of expanding Medicaid, but Scott was given a tax cut for manufacturers that was a top priority.
The themes: Scott took credit for Florida’s continued climb out of the great recession, comparing the economy to that of his predecessor, Gov. Charlie Crist. He called for more tax cuts and several times said, “Let’s keep working.”
Key quote: “Florida was in a hole. Unemployment was above 11 percent, more than one million people in Florida were out of work. Our debt ballooned to more than $28 billion. The year was 2010. Some say these statistics were because of a global recession. They say it doesn’t matter who was running our state – that anyone would just have been a victim of the times. I disagree.”
The results: The Republican-led Legislature largely supported Scott’s agenda knowing he was heading into a tough fight for re-election. One of the key victories was a rollback of auto registration fee increases under Crist.
The themes: Scott recounted great moments in Florida history while calling for more tax cuts, a boost in school funding and making college more affordable.
Key quote: “Florida has long been a place where dreams come true. But, this is not just our past – it’s our future. We have to ask ourselves who has the next big dream for Florida? Who are the inventors? Who are the builders? Who are the trailblazers? We want more people to chase their dreams in Florida.”
The result: The Legislature failed to pass a budget during the regular session and the fracture among Republicans meant Scott got a fraction of what he wanted. He asked for $700 million in tax cuts and the Legislature passed $400 million. School funding also fell below Scott’s wishes.
The themes: Jobs and economic growth. He asked for $1 billion in tax cuts and $250 million for economic development.
Key quote: “The State of Florida is, in one word, growing. Thanks to the hard-working people in our state, over one million jobs have been created in just five years since I took office. One million jobs. Now that is something for Floridians to brag about! One million jobs. Wow.”
The results: Scott took a beating. He got few of the tax cuts he wanted and lawmakers didn’t approve his economic development money.
The themes: Scott vigorously defended the state’s tourism and economic development agencies as some lawmakers threatened to fund them. He again sought a large tax cut package. He also discussed mass shootings at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and at the Fort Lauderdale airport.
Key quote: “Our economy is booming and I am glad that America elected my friend, Donald Trump, a businessman, outsider like myself, as President who is focused on growing the national economy. Florida is on the verge of becoming the job creation capital of the world. And, the fight for jobs continues, and that means we have to keep cutting taxes.”
The result: Scott asked for $600 million in tax cuts, the Legislature approved a $180 million package that included the elimination of a tax on tampons and two sales tax holidays. He reached a compromise on funding Visit Florida and Enterprise Florida, but with new rules on spending and transparency.